Alcohol companies are placing a huge bet that cable TV isn't dead

Forget Snapchat. Alcohol companies are ramping up advertising spending, and most of that is still going to television, radio and print. 
The industry spends around 89% of its advertising dollars on television, according to research done by Citigroup.

Last quarter, the alcoholic-beverage industry spent $421 million on advertising, up 26% compared to the same time last year. Beer brands were far and away the biggest spenders, followed by winemakers, according to Wendy Nicholson, an analyst at Citi.

The largest individual spender was the brewer Shock Top, which is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev. Shock Top ran a Super Bowl ad campaign with actor T.J. Miller from Silicon Valley.

Nicholson contributes the increase in spending to a more competitive environment, and she sees the trend largely continuing as sales in the industry grow.

Still, even outside of television, the industry’s preferences for advertising are decidedly old-school. 

TV isn’t the only old media alcohol companies are spending on. For MillerCoors, magazine advertisements were another top category. Boston Beer Co prefers radio advertisements after television.

The “internet” category, where mobile is king and cord-cutters make up a lot of the population, is surprisingly one of the smallest for alcohol companies, representing only 2% of their total ad spending according to Nicholson.

That’s not the case in other industries of course. In the first quarter of 2016, digital advertising across all industries increased 21% to about $15.9 billion according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

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